BACKGROUND - Pediatric stroke alerts or "code strokes" allow for rapid evaluation, imaging, and treatment of children presenting with stroke-like symptoms. In a previous study of emergency department-initiated pediatric stroke alerts, 24% of children had confirmed strokes. The purpose of this study was to characterize in-hospital pediatric stroke alerts.
METHODS - Demographic and clinical information was obtained from a quality improvement database and medical records for children (zero to 20 years) at a single institution for whom a stroke alert was activated after hospital admission between April 2011 and December 2016. Stroke alert activation criteria included a new focal neurological defect occurring within 48 hours. A neurologist evaluated the patient within 15 minutes and rapid magnetic resonance imaging was available.
RESULTS - Medical personnel activated in-hospital stroke alerts for 56 children (median age 6.5 years, interquartile range 1 to 13, 52% male). Stroke was the final diagnosis of 25 (45%), 72% ischemic, and 28% hemorrhagic strokes. Other diagnoses included neurological urgencies: seizure (21%), posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (7%), transient ischemic attack (5%), and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (4%). Of the stroke diagnoses, 68% were stroke alerts called in the pediatric intensive care unit or pediatric cardiac intensive care unit. Rapid neuroimaging was completed in 91%; magnetic resonance imaging brain was the first image in 55%.
CONCLUSIONS - Of in-hospital pediatric stroke alerts, 45% were stroke while 38% were other neurological conditions requiring urgent evaluation. In-hospital stroke alerts were commonly activated for children with complicated medical histories. Rapid neurological evaluation facilitated care. No child underwent thrombolysis or thrombectomy.
Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier Inc.